Religion and Constitutional Thought Summer Seminar



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BY JOHN FEA

This call for participants just came across the H-OIEAHC (early American history listserv). It looks like a great opportunity for graduate students and pre-tenured faculty.

The Institute for Constitutional Studies is pleased to announce its ninth annual residential summer research seminar, to be held June 8-14, 2008, in Washington, D.C. This year's topic is "The Influence of Religion on Constitutional Thought." Judge Michael McConnell (Tenth Circuit United States Court of Appeals) and Professor Mark Noll (University of Notre Dame) will teach the seminar. The application deadline has been extended to May 5.

Description: Religious thinking has influenced many of the most fundamental features of American constitutional thought. This seminar will explore some of those developments, with focused discussion of selected readings in the morning sessions and paper presentations in the afternoon. Among the topics that may be considered are: (1) Puritan and Reformed Protestant contributions to constitutionalism, republicanism, and revolution; (2) the colonial Great Awakening (Jonathan Edwards) and ideals of society; (3) William Penn and Quaker ideas of political order; (4) Anglicanism, constitutional monarchy, and Loyalist protest; (5) Presbyterian ecclesiology (e.g., John Witherspoon) and ideas of federalism and representation; (6) Baptist theology (including the rejection of infant baptism, e.g., Isaac Backus) and rising individualism and rejection of religious establishment; (7) Masonic ideas (and opposition to them) in the formation of early republican ideology; (8) varying religious appropriations of the Enlightenment; (9) the Second Great Awakening and the rise of voluntarism and civil society; (10) the religious roots of abolitionism and proslavery thought; (11) Lincoln’s theology; (12) women as leaders in church and state; and (13) the 19th-century Roman Catholic critique (e.g., Orestes Brownson) of liberalism.

Participants are not limited to these topics, but may prepare and present papers ranging across the modern history of constitutional democracy, based on any significant connection between religious and constitutional thought, broadly construed. For more information please visit our website.

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